Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tis the Season to Give - To Me!!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Beth Revis is holding a contest.  The prize is 50 signed books by a myriad of authors.  You can find the link here.

There is really only one word that comes to mind when I think about this:  Gimmie!!!

However, based on the instructions I must discuss why I love YA (Young Adult for those unfamiliar) Literature.  So, in the spirit of giving, I figured I'd briefly discuss what YA Lit has given to me over the years. 

Hopefully this will help me win the 50 books for my ninth grade classroom (Shameless Promotional Plug Alert!).

To put is as simply as possible, YA Lit started my love affair with books.  But it wasn't until I was an adult that I truly understood how important they were.  I've always had a "sixth sense" when it comes to finding the deepest messages in literature, and I've found some of the most important lessons in YA Lit.

Top Five Lessons Learned Courtesy of YA Lit

1.  Beautiful girls with perfect blond hair can't be trusted
2.  Not all vampires are bad
3.  When bad things happen, avoid telling your parents
4.  I want to live in an urban fantasy novel
5.  High School is just a backdrop for a more important story

But in all seriousness, YA Lit helps me examine myself as a human being, as a friend, as a woman.  It reminds me of the most basic needs a person possesses.  It addresses the deepest problems of our society (Hello!?  The Giver!) in a way that both tears at my heart and leaves me awestruck.  YA Lit is for adults AND young adults because, in reality, most of us never grew up all the way anyway.

Good YA Lit doesn't just touch the reader; it profoundly affects them for the rest of their lives, snags their souls and leaves them with important life questions, wondering where to turn next.  For me, the next logical step was always another book as I still pondered the questions from the last, puzzling over how those questions fit into my own life.  That cycle continues today.

I've also never read a YA book that I didn't finish in less than two days.   

I teach young adults now.  I introduce them to all kinds of literature and ask them to open their minds to it.  I try my best to litter my room with young adult literature, hoping against hope that they will pick up a book, read it, and become hooked the way I did.   

And personally, I still read more young adult literature than anything else.  It has more heart than any other literature, in my opinion.  I write it as well, on the side of course.  My writing is not yet worthy of a publisher.

Anyhoo, those are my thoughts.  YA Lit has given me so much.  Maybe it will give me 50 free books!!  (Please?  Pretty, pretty please?)

Beth - 1
YA Lit - 1
Suckers Who Don't Read YA Lit - 0

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Harar Birthday Season Comes to a Close

Between the months of October through November, the Harar Birthday Season commences.  If it were a reality TV show, it might be comparable to The Hunger Games, where the only thing I win is a chance to survive and do it all again next year.

24 Days, 3 Birthdays, 1 Surviving Mother.

Every year I have a conversation with myself that goes something like this:

Older, Wiser Beth:  "This is such a stressful time of year.  What were you thinking?  Why didn't you plan this better?"

Younger Naive, Un-Stressed Beth:  "We didn't plan this, remember?  Remember Superbowl Night 2003?Remember when the doctor shocked the hell out of you by saying you were pregnant five weeks later?  And then around the exact same time three years later you found out you were preggers again?  Hu?"

Older, Wiser Beth:  "Oh, yeah.  Oops."

Anyhoo, Jillian's birthday is October 23rd.  Seven days later is Mike's on November 1st.  Joey's is fifteen days later on November 16th.  It turns into one big money-spending, cake eating frenzy where I'm stuck in the middle sending out invitations, planning parties, gathering goodie bags, completing harried last-minute house cleaning and wrapping presents. 

And there is never just one party.  The whole family is never able to get together on the same day, so each birthday extends to two or three parties, sometimes over the course of a week.  Or two. 

This year I put up a happy birthday sign in the living room and left it up for 24 days until Joey's birthday party was over on Sunday. 

As I mentioned on Twitter the other day, I've escaped with only a small shred of sanity and an extra two pounds.  And though the Harar birthday season has ended, the Masone-Harar season continues in two weeks when my sister has her birthday.  My dad's is thirteen days after my sister's.  Christmas follows a week later.

At least my birthday is in July.

Beth - 0
Birthdays - 1

Monday, November 5, 2012

Boomer the Wonder Dog

Our dog Boomer has escaped death about five times.  By escaping death, I mean we think he is going to die, prepare ourselves for the inevitable outcome and then discover that he has miraculously recovered. 

Boomer the Wonder Dog!!

Escape From Death #1:  Boomer developed some serious tumors on his back.  The doctor suspected that they were cancer and, being only four years old, we decided to have the surgery to save his life. 
Outcome #1:  Turns out the tumors were just fatty and of no danger to his life.

Escape From Death #2:  At age 8, Boomer became very ill.  He lost weight, wouldn't eat, and we discovered that he wasn't producing red blood cells any longer.  We tried many methods to help him (ie:  lots of money spent), but his condition didn't improve.  As a last ditch effort, about a week before we were going to put him out of his misery, the vets tried steroids. 
Outcome #2:  Boomer bounced back and has been happily on steroids ever since.

Escape from Death #3:  At age 11, we brought him in because he lost a toenail, but they were concerned with something they felt in his stomach.  An x-ray later, and the vet thought Boomer had cancer of the spleen.  We prepared for the worst yet again. 
Outcome #3:  Turns out he was fine and just seems to have an enlarged spleen.

Escape from Death #4:  At age 12, he had a seizure.  The doctors feared the worst, convinced that it was cancer.  We braced ourselves for the worst, and paid for blood work and tests.  
Outcome #4:  The vets didn't find anything.  It wasn't cancer, and he recovered.

Escape from Death #5:  One month ago, at age 13, he had another seizure.  They tested his blood and his white blood cell count was high.  He had also developed kidney disease, the vet said.  We started him on heavy antibiotics, but were sure this was it.
Today, we took him in because he hadn't eaten in three days, was vomiting and had another seizure.  They tested his white blood cell count and kidney levels, convinced that he was dying, but gave him some anti-nausea medicine and fluids to help a bit. 
Outcome #5:  Three hours later, Boomer was ravenous and ate a huge dinner.  The vet called and said his white blood cells and kidneys were now normal.  He is sleeping heavily in a food coma as I write. 

Bottom Line:  He's fine and will never die. 

The greatest irony here is that we were so excited eleven years ago because we got Boomer for free.

Beth - 0
Boomer - 1
Vet Rolling in Our Money - 1